Below are perfect situations to blurt out phrases coined by Shakespeare.
A college student meets up with a friend. He wants to talk to him about how his current relationship is going.
Guy 1: So how are you and that girl? You’ve been dating for three months now.
Guy 2: It’s doing great man! I really like her. I’m a bit disappointed though.
Guy 1: Why’s that?
Guy 2: I want to take our relationship to the next level. I want her to be officially my girlfriend.
Guy 1: Doesn’t she want that too? It seems like she’s so into you, too.
Guy 2: I know she likes me, but we want different things. She’s migrating with her family after college so she said she doesn’t want to make a commitment, knowing she’s gonna leave it anyway.
Guy 1: But dude, if she really likes you, you’ll figure something out. Long distance relationships are hard but there can be a way if you try finding one. She can’t just give up that easily, right?
Guy 2: I know. But it’s just her perspective. She doesn’t want either of us to get hurt. So she thinks we’re just wasting time trying to create an intimacy that wouldn’t last anyway.
Guy 1: She has a point. She did warn you from the start that she’s not looking for anything long-term and that she just wants to have fun, make the most out of life.
Guy 2: I know, I know. It’s just that I’m falling in love with her. At first I thought I would be okay not ending up with her. But now that’s all I really want. I don’t know what to do, man. Right now I’m just having a fool’s paradise.
A fool’s paradise – a state of happiness based on false hope. (From Romeo and Juliet)
A woman is trying to fend off this narcissistic man who annoyingly courts her. She clearly does not like the man but the more she snobs him, all the more he becomes persistent. She has little chances of avoiding him as they work in the same office.
Woman (to her lady friend): Oh no, he’s headed this way. Not again.
Man: Good morning, ladies! (the lady friend walks out)
Woman: Hi! (walks out with her friend)
Man: Hey wait! I have something for you.
Woman: Don’t you always?
Man: It’s different this time. I know you always forget, somehow, the things I give you. I forgive you, I know you’re busy and sometimes you forget the lovely things I give you no matter how you appreciate them. It’s not edible this time so it won’t go to waste in case you forget them.
Woman: You’re a generous person, but I don’t see you more than a friend. Please, stop. I’ve told you this a thousand times. You’re just wasting your time.
Man: I see what you did there. You’re playing hard to get again. C’mon. Don’t you find me attractive? At all?
Woman: Not really. What can I ever do to quit?
Man: And what can I ever do to make you concede? Here. Tulips. It’s better than what that other guy gave you the other day. These look lovelier.
Woman: I appreciate the gesture, but he gave me flowers first.
Man: Are you kidding me? Those were roses. These are tulips. Just look at them.
Woman: A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
Man: The hell?
Woman: Nice. You can’t even apply the literal meaning.
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet – what matters is what something is, not what it is called. (From Romeo and Juliet)
It’s finals week. A professor planned to be the proctor of his very class for their final exam. He wondered what to do while the students answer the exam.
Prof: Okay class, put all your things in front and we’ll begin the test shortly. Any student caught cheating will face the consequences stated in the student handbook.
(He gives out the questionnaires and answer sheets once the class has settled, then sat on the chair in front.)
These were his thoughts:
Okay, now what to do? I just rushed here so I haven’t really brought anything. On purpose, at least. Wait, I think I brought the newspaper from this morning. Let me just search for it in my bag.. Aha! Found you. (skimming through the newspaper) Mhmm I read this already, and this too. (continues skimming) Boring boring boring… Old issue… Don’t really care about this event… Don’t like the writing style of this guy… Okay, what else do I have? Wait! I want to finish the book I was reading yesterday. Where is it? It must be here since I used the same bag as yesterday. Okay! Mission look-for-novel. I have nothing else to do here aside from glancing at the students every now and then. I might fall asleep not doing anything.
Finally says: A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse! (class just laughs)
A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse – this is repeated ironically when someone is in need of some unimportant item. (From Shakespeare’s Richard III)
As we can see, Shakespeare seems to be the master of idiomatic expressions. It would be nice to have these more popular today. However, he also coined phrases that we use more often such as “all of a sudden”, which simply means suddenly, and “all corners of the world, which simply means all parts of the world. He was both a propagator of language and a lord of it, since he coined so many phrases that range in derivations of meaning. Some were just literal, some were undoubtedly metaphorical.
For more Shakespeare-coined phrases, go to this site:
What is Shakespeare to a female fourth grader? A chance of a life time. Well, for Helga that is. Helga is a female character in the cartoon series “Hey Arnold.” Throughout the series, Helga is portrayed as a rude, feisty girl who loves to bully other people around but she secretly harbours immense love for the protagonist of the series, Arnold. That is why, when her teacher decides to create an adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet” with Arnold as Romeo, Helga does everything in her power to get the role of Juliet to get the chance of kissing her beloved Arnold without revealing her true feelings for him because it would all simply look like “acting.” Helga resolves to getting the role of Juliet as she kisses her picture of Arnold in a bathroom and utters the lines, “What could be more perfect than this?”
For Helga’s other classmates, they don’t see much relevance concerning Shakespeare at all, especially her male classmates who don’t go for the “mushy romantic” stories. But what they see as attracting in Shakespeare’s play is the violence or the fighting scenes. The thought of holding a sword and fighting with other people gets Stinky, Harold and Curly excited and eager to audition for roles. But at the same time, the thought of kissing a “girl” makes these guys leave the play as well, even if they won’t actually be playing Romeo. Arnold, the person who plays Romeo, initially didn’t want the role as well because of the “kissing scene.” He said “yes” to Mr. Simmons, the teacher in charge of the play, only because Mr. Simmons was practically begging before Arnold to take the role.
In contrast to the male characters, the other female characters, aside from Helga, are actually okay with the kiss. They don’t see any big issue about it, especially since it is Arnold and not some other guy whom they’ll kiss. What concern these female characters that were initially to play the role of Juliet are other things. For Rhonda, the girl who got the part of Juliet, she is concerned with making herself beautiful and Helga uses this to her advantage to get Rhonda to reject the role of Juliet. Helga volunteers to do the costumes for the play and she makes Juliet’s dress as hideous as it could be forcing Rhonda to back out because she couldn’t afford to wear such an ugly dress. The first understudy, Sheena, is concerned with the violence and fight scenes in the play, in contrast to the male characters’ interest concerning such scenes, which make her back out as well. The second understudy, Phoebe, Helga’s best friend, is scared off by Helga in playing the role by telling Phoebe that at any time she could make a mistake with the numerous lines that she has to memorize and this would screw up the whole play. So, Phoebe backs out and plays the role of stage director instead. Helga, as the fourth understudy has one more girl to “scare off” into playing the role and this girl is Lila. Helga talks to Lila and tries to scare her by telling her about the violence in the play, the hideous dress and the numerous lines she has to memorize. But Lila does not budge and instead replies, “The violence only serves to underscore the real meaning of the play, which is that love conquers all.” Among all the characters that will play a role in “Romeo and Juliet,” it seems that it is only Lila who is playing the role without any motives or personal concerns but that she wants to play the role because of her appreciation and understanding of the play. After exhausting her efforts in trying to convince Lila to back out, Helga resorts to confessing the truth concerning why she wants the role of Juliet so badly and tells Lila that she does like Arnold. Helga held her feelings for Arnold as her deepest, darkest secret and in order to get the role of Juliet to kiss Arnold it took a lot from her to tell Lila the truth but she still does so because of her desire to kiss Arnold. Talk about desperation or what Shakespeare could do to the mind of a fourth grader. In the end, Lila willingly gives the role to Helga and Helga finally gets the role of Juliet after all her efforts.
Helga, with all her scheming and plotting to get the role is shown not as someone who is only manipulative but after getting the role, Helga is shown to be someone who practices the whole night to memorize her lines which shows a different side to Helga. Helga may have her own motives for wanting the role of Juliet but she still wants to do a good job at doing her role so that the efforts of everyone in the play won’t be in vain. She ends up sharing a lengthy kiss with Arnold which is the consummation of all her efforts, perseverance and hard work. The play also becomes a successful performance of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” and was appreciated by the crowd that watched it.
It is very interesting to see how Shakespeare can play a “life-changing” role in the character of Helga. For Helga, the play “Romeo and Juliet” was simply equated to “the chance to kiss Arnold.” Even if Helga and the other characters didn’t appreciate the play for itself, except for Lila, but had their own motives for playing a part in the play, it goes to show that Shakespeare, for whatever reason, is very much appealing and applicable to even the “drama” that fourth graders have, in a cartoon series, that is.
Another cartoon series that makes use of Shakespeare’s play “Romeo and Juliet” is the animé entitled “K-ON!” K-ON! is a Japanese animé concerning the school life of five female protagonists who are a member of the light music club in their school. It is interesting to see how “Romeo and Juliet” is adapted in a Japanese animé which features protagonists studying in an all-female school. The two characters who played the role are Ritsu for Juliet and Mio for Romeo, both third year junior high school students. If their personality were to be followed, Ritsu is considered to be more fit to playing the character of Romeo because she is sort of boyish while Mio is known to be the shy, feminine type but due to them drawing Juliet and Romeo respectively in the draw lots, they played roles opposite to their true personalities. That is one of the twists the animé put in portraying a version of “Romeo and Juliet.”
As the play progressed, Mio and Ritsu actually were able to get into their roles very well even if they found in difficult to act while they were still practicing for the play. During the balcony scene where Romeo, Mio talks with Juliet, Ritsu in her balcony, the two are shown to be very close together and even if they are known to be best friends and both female, the audience cannot help but feel the intensity of the scene and one audience member even commented that that scene “really made [her] heart race.” In a way, the animé is able to create “chemistry” between Mio and Ritsu even if they’re best friends and both girls. In the balcony scene where the two are shown to “intimately hug” each other, the audience can be heard to be screaming because of the “kilig” factor that the scene has, showing that Mio and Ritsu play the role of Romeo and Juliet very effectively.
“Romeo and Juliet” is popularized by the kissing scene between Romeo and Juliet before they both die and this is also what is capitalized in the “Hey Arnold” adaptation of the play. So, how would a Japanese animé with an all-female cast portray this scene which is the climax of the play? The answer is, it doesn’t. The animé still treats the “graveyard” scene as the climax of the play but instead of showing a scene where two girls would kiss, which probably is taboo or something verging into the forbidden in an all-female school, the animé instead creates a conflict outside the play to replace the supposed climax in the play. The conflict is that the one of the props for the graveyard scene, which is the grave stone of Juliet, is missing and no one could seem to find it. Without it, the scene wouldn’t be as effective. So the other characters seek help from another organization to replace their lost grave stone. The resolution of that conflict becomes the “climax” of the episode replacing the climactic scene in the play.
In a way, Shakespeare works even in an all-female cast in a Japanese animé since the mere thought of two females sharing some sort of intimacy is enough to give the audience excitement and thrill in order to get hooked into the play.
The adaptation of Shakespeare in two cartoon school plays shows that Shakespeare’s works can be easily modified and suited to fit the theme that a show has. In the case of “Hey Arnold,” the episode that adapted “Romeo and Juliet” emphasized on Helga’s desperate desire for Arnold and this desire is achieved through the play. In the K-ON! episode, it effectively shows how even an all-female cast could successfully portray one of Shakespeare’s most popular couples and scene suited for an all-female junior high school Japanese audience.
Hey Arnold! 2011. Photograph. Life Behind the ScenesWeb. 28 Mar 2012. <http://lifebehindthescenes.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/25-shows-hey-arnold/>.
Wiki Contributor. Romeo and Juliet. Photograph. K-ON WikiWeb. 28 Mar 2012. <http://k-on.wikia.com/wiki/Romeo_and_Juliet!>.
Submitted by: Sarah Jessica S. Napoles 2008-50010
Eng23 THU 2nd Sem AY 2011-2012
I recently was able to watch PETA’s last offering for their recent theater season. The show was entitled “Thee Na Natuto: Love songs for the Love sick”. The mini-concert showcased Shakespeare’s sonnets, translated into Filipino and adapted into songs by Filipino artists. There were some hits and misses, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I became intrigued by how even if Shakespeare wrote his sonnets many years ago, the emotions still apply to how people feel towards others today. As expected, there were a lot of other people who tried using Shakespeare’s sonnets and turned them into songs. Here are a couple of the ones I found online.
This girl was just supposed to memorize the sonnet for English class. Instead of recording her voice and listening to it over and over again, she made it into a song! She used the ukulele for the accompaniment. However, I don’t think she made it into a song with consideration of the message of the words. It was purely for memorization purposes.
Now this version was an interesting contrast to the one before this. When you first hear the introduction, you’ll instantly notice why. It wasn’t upbeat or happy –the music is more on the sentimental and mysterious side. The voice of the singer sounded very romantic. This was the closest to the interpretation of Sonnet 18 I had imagined in my head. I can imagine a gentleman in a suit, singing while playing the piano.
In this adaptation of Sonnet 130 into a song, this guy used his plucking skills on guitar at the beginning. He had a sort of intro to the rest of the sonnet. There were parts in his song that didn’t fit right for me. Watch the video, you be the judge. 😉
Of all the sonnets-turned-into-songs, this was the one that for me seemed as if the sonnet fit properly with the music. It was as if the sonnet was meant to be a song. This version reminded me of the voice of Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge. The images shown in the video are from the movie Pride and Prejudice.
It was interesting to hear a sonnet being played as song by someone whose native language is not English.
“The Shakespearean Insulter”
Oh, the random stuff one can find in the internet! If you click the link above, you’ll be introduced to a webpage dedicated to generation of one-liner Shakespearean insults. Here are a couple of lines I was able to generate. I’ve included sample instances wherein these lines can be used. Please take note that no, I do not have all this anger in my heart. I just want to cite examples!
1.) This is what I would say to a group mate who has no common sense or isn’t thinking for himself. We all have experienced being grouped with someone who just goes with the flow, to the point that it’s obvious he or she doesn’t know what’s going on in the discussion anymore! It’s the typical answer to a “Hello, duh” moment. 😉
2.) We’ve all met people who like backstabbing other people behind their backs. This is for the cowards who shrink back and keep quiet when they find out that we know about it and we’re finally in front of one another.
3.) I know this line was said by Hamlet to Gertrude. But there are a lot of lines that can also apply to different circumstances. For me, I can say this to my ex-boyfriend. (Bitter? Haha!).
4.) If I was Snow White and I suddenly met the wicked witch in the forest.
If I was Cinderella and I’d just realized that it’s already 12 midnight.
If I’d gone out all glammed up and then suddenly this cockroach starts flying around above my head.
If I woke up, faced the clock, and realized that I overslept and haven’t studied enough for my exam.
If I wake up at 3am and suddenly hear a “baby” crying right outside my window. (Eep!)
Or if I was in a catfight and I just want to insult the girl in front of me.
5.) This is for my mortal enemy (if I ever had one). There just aren’t any more words I can say.
6.) For that professor who refuses to give his/her students days with no homework!
7.) For that clingy girl who keeps on flirting with your boyfriend even if you’re around.
Who says that popular TV series is mostly, if not always, about suspense and investigations such as the C.S.I., Fringe, Greys Anatomy, Castle and the like? Or it’s merely about the elite people on the Upper East side of the United States like Gossip Girl? Our favorite playwright of all times has once again entered the realm of modern entertainment of today specifically TV series that contains a number of episodes.
Slings and Arrows is a 3 season Canadian television series about a quirky theatre company, The New Burbage Theatre. It was written by three people: McKinney, Susan Coyne, and Bob Martin. It consists of three series of six episodes, each season built — literally and thematically — around a different Shakespearean play: Hamlet for youth, Macbeth for the middle age, and King Lear for the autumn years. Each season the actors mount a Shakespearean play, along with other events. The plays are luminous; the stagings inspired. We feel the singular exhilaration of live theatre.
Here are sneak peeks and summaries of the 3 seasons:
The show’s central characters are actor/director Geoffrey Tennant (Paul Gross), New Burbage artistic director Oliver Welles (Stephen Ouimette), and actress Ellen Fanshaw (Martha Burns), who seven years previously collaborated on a legendary production of Hamlet. Midway through one of the performances, Geoffrey suffered a nervous breakdown, jumped into Ophelia’s grave and then ran screaming from the stage. After that, he was committed to a psychiatric institution.
When the series begins, Geoffrey is in Toronto, running a small company, “Théâtre Sans Argent” (French for “Theatre Without Money”), on the verge of being evicted. Oliver and Ellen have stayed at New Burbage, where Oliver has gradually been commercializing his productions and the festival. On the opening night of the New Burbage’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Oliver sees Geoffrey on the news, chained to his theater. Heavily drunk, Oliver calls Geoffrey from a payphone and they argue about the past. Oliver then passes out in the street and is run over and killed by a truck bearing the slogan “Canada’s Best Hams.”
Geoffrey’s blistering eulogy at Oliver’s funeral about the state of the festival leads to him being asked to take over Oliver’s job on a temporary basis. After clashing with an old rival, Darren Nichols (Don McKellar), Geoffrey is reluctantly forced to take over directing the festival’s latest production of Hamlet. Making this difficult are Jack Crew (Luke Kirby), the insecure American film star cast as Hamlet; Geoffrey’s former lover Ellen, who is playing Gertrude and dating a much younger man; and Oliver, now haunting both Geoffrey and the festival as a ghost. Also in the play is apprentice actress Kate (Rachel McAdams), who finds herself falling for Jack.
On the business side of the festival, New Burbage manager Richard Smith-Jones (Mark McKinney) is seduced by one of his sponsors, American executive Holly Day (Jennifer Irwin) who wants to remake New Burbage into a shallow, commercialized “Shakespeareville”.
The second season follows the New Burbage production of Macbeth.
Richard is desperate for money to keep the company going, and Geoffrey, frustrated over what he sees as a lack of commitment from his actors, suggests downsizing the company. A new actor, Henry Breedlove (Geraint Wyn Davies), arrives to star in a production of Macbeth, which Geoffrey is reluctant to direct because of its supposed difficulty (though he doesn’t believe in the curse of “The Scottish Play“).
Richard finds funding in the form of a government grant that comes with a catch—it may be used only for “rebranding.” So, Richard hires an avant-garde advertising agency, Froghammer, to promote and rebrand the festival. Sanjay (Colm Feore), the head of Froghammer, launches a series of shock advertisements and manipulates Richard into accepting them.
Elsewhere at the festival, Darren has returned from an artistic rebirth in Germany to direct a version of Romeo and Juliet in which the actors don’t touch or even look at each other, much to the chagrin of the couple playing the lead roles. The festival’s administrator, Anna Conroy (Susan Coyne), copes with an influx of interns and begins a romance with a playwright doing a reading at the festival.
Ellen undergoes a tax audit, in preparation for which she is able to explain the “business purpose” of such theatrical necessities as lipstick and a push-up bra.
Meanwhile, Geoffrey obsesses over directing Macbeth, antagonizes his cast and crew, and starts seeing Oliver’s ghost again, all of which make Ellen fear for his sanity.
The third season follows the New Burbage production of King Lear.
The cast of Macbeth returns home after a successful run of the production on Broadway, where an old friend of Ellen’s (Janet Bailey) tells her to think about moving beyond New Burbage. As Richard tries to cope with being a success, Anna must deal with a group of stranded musicians and Darren is back in town, this time to direct a new musical, East Hastings.
Geoffrey, meanwhile, has cast an aging theatre legend, Charles Kingman (William Hutt) as Lear, despite everyone’s fears that the role will kill him. As rehearsals continue, Charles terrorizes Sophie (Sarah Polley), the actress playing Cordelia. Sophie is also involved in the rivalry between the young actors in Lear and the young actors in the musical, whose success soon outshadows the troubled Shakespeare production.
As things spiral out of control, Oliver returns to haunt and help, and Geoffrey seeks therapy from an unlikely source.
Introducing King Lear in Season 3:
All episodes can be watched through youtube. I’d conclude with my favorite scene and character: Ophelia’s madness
In today’s popular social media Twitter, Shakespeare is not obsolete. In fact, if his name is entered in the search bar, tweets that contain his plays and anything related to him will fill the page. Not only that, tweets continuously keep on coming: popular quotes from his tragedies and comedies, his modernized and revised plays, theatre companies that feature his plays and many more. It’s just a proof that Shakespeare is indeed everywhere; he breaks the line separating the classical and modern era that is highly digitized.
Of course there are negative tweets about him but it even strengthens the fact that he is never forgotten nor ignored. The last tweet on the next figure suggests that someone is affected by Shakespeare’s hard-to-decipher language. It cannot be denied that until today, he is someone that plants confusion to the minds of the people and leaves them something to think about—just as how he crafted his characters like Hamlet as subjects of uncertainty.
Aside from Shakespeare being omnipresent (since we can encounter him everywhere we go–may it be in the movies, libraries or on social media like Twitter) , there is also no limit as for the age group that admires him and his masterpieces. Shakespeare is accepted and well-liked even by kids as young as a 2-year-old. One of the tweets on the next figure is about a little kid reciting Sonnet 18.
Here is the video of the 2-year-old boy: